Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday=Book Review Time--For the boys out there

Up for today: Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan (Book 1) by John Flanagan



Why I bought it? This question should probably be more along the lines of why I read it. I actually bought this several years ago. It was something my daughter picked out at the bookstore. Barnes and Noble--I think. I finally read it because my son kept pushing it on me.

Synopsis/Set up: 15 year old Will wants more than anything to be chosen as an apprentice to the battle school, but he's rejected for his slight size. He ends up being chosen as the Ranger's apprentice, and he's not sure he's happy about it. He learns that his natural talents and size are a perfect fit for the Rangers. It's the story of a kid finding his place in the world.

What I thought? I'm getting to be a big fan of all these Australian authors who have been showing up on our bookshelves recently. This is a fantastic read for a boy, and I didn't want to put it down either. The characters are great, fully realized with strengths and weaknesses. (On a side note: as a mom, I was glad my kids read it. The heros are the kind that I like my kids to identify with. Working hard, doing their best, striving to do what is right. But not perfect. Real.) The setting is detailed and you feel like you're really in a medieval environment. It's an engrossing, fun read. Flanagan's style reminds me a lot of Louis L'Amour--a non-western Louis L'Amour for kids and teens. Here's a great video of Flanagan talking about why he wrote this series and his writing in general.



My Rating: **** 1/2 out of 5

My Daughter's Rating (16 yr. old): ***** out of 5, She read it several years ago and kept recommending it to her brother until he read it.

My Son's Rating (14 yr. old):  ***** out of 5, "It's wonderful," he said when I asked for his comment.  He used to be a reluctant reader. (Can I tell you how happy I am to be able to say he "used to be"?) After he read the Percy Jackson series and finally realized that he could like reading, I was searching high and low for something else he would love. His sister brought this out for him and pitched it again. He bit this time and loved it. He has even taken up archery as a result of reading this novel and all the ones that follow. I recently bought 8 and 9, and 10 comes out in April.

Cleanness Score: 3 out of 10, This is mostly for the violence. There's enough to make it exciting for the older boys and teens--not so much that younger boys can't enjoy it. As for language, there may have been a mild expletive here or there, but there was nothing jarring to me. I wouldn't have a problem with my 10 year old daughter reading it, but she hasn't yet. She's busy reading Rick Riordan.

14 comments:

Summer Frey said...

I actually bought this book for myself a few months ago, but also because I thought my non-reader husband might enjoy it (he loves fantasy, but is a slow reader, so I thought the middle grade shortness might appeal to him). I read it quickly and really liked it! Husband hasn't gotten around to it yet.

Tana Adams said...

Thanx for the review! I have three boys always looking for something to read!

R.S.J. said...

Ha, my son is immerged in Riordan land as well. I'm betting he'd enjoy this book. I love, love that he has figured out that reading is the best. Welcome back to blogworld!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

i'm going to pick this up at the library for my 11 yo. Thanks for the recommendation. :D

lotusgirl said...

Summer, I hope the hubby like it. I never would have believed that my son would have zoomed through 9 books like this, but he can't get enough of them.

Tana, I hope they like them as much as my son has.

RSJ, Riordan is fun reading for kids. I will always love him because he got my son to love reading.

Stina, You're welcome. I'm glad I could help.

Danyelle said...

Awesome review. I've seen these books on the shelves a lot, but haven't been sure about reading them. Will definitely pick them up now. :D

Patti said...

I was trying to think of another book my sons might read. They've rejected all of my previous offerings.

Heidi Willis said...

That's a great suggestion! I've never heard of it, but my son loved the Percy Jackson series and is always looking for something new. And, as one who is always smaller than his peers, he might identify with this. :)

Thanks to you - and your kids! - for the review!

lotusgirl said...

Danyelle, Thanks. I'm looking forward to reading the others in the series.

Patti, Good luck getting them to start it. I think once they get into it they will like them all. My son has LOVED them, and coming from a former reading hater that says a lot.

Heidi, I love helping people find great reads. I especially love helping children find stories they can get into and really enjoy.

Caryn said...

This sounds fantastic! I've seen it around but haven't read it yet. Must look into it. I have read the Percy Jackson books, though. I picked the first one up before anyone had heard of them, and flipped to the table of contents. His chapter titles had me giggling, so I knew I had to read the books themselves.

Medeia Sharif said...

Thanks for the review. I haven't seen this before. Maybe I'll check it out.

lotusgirl said...

Caryn, It's one of those books I think all kids would enjoy not just boys.

Medeia, You're welcome. I'm glad to introduce you to something new.

ali said...

I bought this book for my son, but he couldn't really get into it. That was a while ago, though, so maybe he'd enjoy it now that he's a bit older. Thanks for reminding me that we had this book!

Nisa said...

This is a neat way to review! I love that we get your kids' opinion and yours and I love the cleanness score! These books are on my list. My husband read them and enjoyed them a lot. I'll get to them. Someday. lol!